Orbert Davis: Musician, Educator, Icon


Dearborn Plys, Editor

Orbert Davis, a Chicago icon as a performer and educator. He’s been named one of Chicago’s “most admired icons” by the Chicago Tribune, he’s composed and released 6 records with the world’s only third-stream orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. “[CJP]’s music is the soundtrack to a movie I’m not cool enough to watch,” says Sophia Chung ‘19.

As a champion of music education, as CEO of CJP, Orbert Davis founded Jazz Alive, a program bringing Jazz Education to public schools across Chicago that wouldn’t have otherwise had access similar instruction. Former student Julian Quall ‘19 says, “I’m glad to have gotten such a fun opportunity to learn and play music.”

His current project, “Chicago Immigrant Stories”, highlights performers who have immigrated to the U.S. and combines the music of their homes with Jazz. Last summer, after a number of smaller performances, a grand finale for the last year’s guests was held at Millenium Park. The concert featured the whole Chicago Jazz Philharmonic as well as instrumentalists Kerry Leung, Sekou Conde and Seneke Ensemble, and Kalyan Pathak. Student Cameron Shaw ‘22 says the concert was “fantastic”.

Want to learn more? Visit Orbert’s website at www.orbertdavis.com or for more about Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and educational opportunities go to www.chicagojazzphilharmonic.org.